Maine: An Encyclopedia

Martin, John L.

(1941 –    ) was born in Eagle Lake June 5, 1941 and attended local schools. He received his B.A. in History and Government from the University of Maine at Orono in 1963, and did advanced graduate study in Political Science at the University of Maine at Orono.

First elected to the House of Representatives in 1964 from northern Aroostook County, Martin served an unprecedented ten terms as Speaker of the House from 1975 to 1994. He served four terms in the State Senate, where he was Chair of the Natural Resources Committee and was a member of the Health and Human Services Committee. He was a member of the House of Representatives for sixteen consecutive terms, and nineteen terms overall, including as a member of the Committee on Appropriation and Financial Affairs, before being defeated in an attempt at reelection in 2012.

With a reputation for tough, partisan politics, Martin suffered a major setback when his top aide was caught tampering with ballots in the 1992 election.  The “Term Limit Act of 1993” was initiated by petition and placed on the ballot in 1993.  It passed 312,007 to 182,192, largely in reaction to the ballot scandal and the perceived power of the long-term Speaker.

Martin resigned as Speaker of the House in 1994, but retained his seat in the House, and was re-elected to the House in the 1994 election.  He was “term-limited” so he sat out the 1996 election, only to return to the House in 1998.  Martin next was elected to the Senate in 2000, 2002, 2004, and 2006, then rotated back to the House in 2008 and 2010.

Prior to becoming Speaker, he had served on the Joint Standing Committees on Taxation, State Government, and Appropriations and Financial Affairs. Elected Minority Floor Leader in 1971, he served in that position until becoming Speaker in 1975. Martin was  Chair of the Legislative Council in 1989-90.

An assistant professor of Political Science and Government at the University of Maine at Fort Kent, Martin has served several national legislative organizations, including as President of the National Conference of State Legislatures from 1990-1991; as a member of the Board of the Foundation for State Legislatures. He was President of the State Legislative Leaders Foundation from 1979 to 1982 and Chairman of the New England Caucus of State Legislatures in 1982 and 1983.

As an active Democrat, he was Vice Chair of the Regional Executive Committee of the Democratic State Legislative Leaders Association; Chair of the State Democratic Leaders Association; and a member of both the Democratic National Committee and the Executive Committee of the Democratic National Committee.

From 1970-72 he Chaired the Land Use Regulation Commission and Chaired the Intergovernmental Relations Commission in 1969.

John Martin’s other activities include serving as Treasurer of Northern Maine General Hospital, a non-profit organization which operates the Eagle Lake Nursing Home and the Eagle Lake Boarding Home. He is also the president of Ambulance Services Inc, as well as President of Fish Ruix Health Centers.

Additional resources

“Senator John L. Martin.” (accessed November 24, 2012)

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This entry was last modified: March 01, 2014 02:25 PM

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